EU Legislation Could Make App Stores More Fair

The European Commission is looking into EU legislation that will make app stores and search results more fair from controllers of internet gateways, like Google and Apple. News of the a possible EU law to keep the app marketplace fair comes after a complaint was filed by Spotify, Rocket Internet, and Deezer against search engines and app stores. In their complaint, these companies claim that internet giants used their position as gateways to promote their own apps and services against those of rivals. Specifically, Spotify claimed that Apple had engaged in unfair business practices when it rejected a Spotify app update from the iOS App Store. In the app update, Spotify offered new subscribers incentives to sign up for its music subscription service on its website, rather than through the app, to circumvent Apple's cut of the sale. Apple claimed that Spotify asked for special treatment, and because all iOS apps have to pass through Apple's App Store before a consumer can download them, the case demonstrates an uneasy co-dependence between companies like Apple and Google with third-party developers like Spotify. Spotify most recently accused Google and Apple of abusing their gatekeeping powers.

An EU Commission investigation report found that internet companies were either pulling services or products without notice, restricting access to data or obscuring search result transparency. As a result, regulators proposed establishing criteria for fair trade practices, methods to improve transparency and a system to resolve any conflicts or disputes. Hopefully, the method for resolving conflicts won't leave app developers to the mercy of app stores, which have served as gateways of apps on mobile platforms, or in the midst of a lengthy and costly legal battle.

EDiMA, a trade group that represents Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook said that it was disappointed and astounded by the EU Commission's announcement. The music industry, however, was in support of the EU initiative. The EU Commission announced Wednesday that it will unveil its initiative by the end of the year to address trading practices between platforms and businesses. The Commission also looked at social media as part of its review, and said that it would work to help coordinate a code of conduct with major social media companies and provide guidance on how to deal with illegal content, including hate speech.

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C H Nguyen

Documenter of life through my camera lens, frequent traveler and technology aficionado. Join me on my adventures on Instagram: @monsierpenseur.